Viva Crystal!

I just finish reading Crystal Renn’s wonderful autobiography, Hungry, and feel the pressing urge to tell everyone else in the world to go out and buy it NOW!!!


Not only is she unearthly gorgeous and ridiculously sexy, but Miss Renn is spirited, bold, and very, very brave. The book is written in a down-to-earth, approachable but intelligent manner – reading the supermodel’s work is like going out to coffee with a bright, engaging friend.

Her story goes something like this: discovered at age 14, she was told to lose 10 inches off her hips in order to model. Naturally, she developed a crushing eating disorder by the time she was 16, weighing about 95 pounds at 5’9”. She continued to model without success, until one fateful day, when everything changed…

Renn’s story is a modern fairy tale with a much healthier central message. Only when she respected herself and her body did she become a successful (now plus-size) model. She’s been all over the world, on the covers of magazines, and on television sets nationwide (Oprah!). She is a beacon of hope, an example to women across the world.

Whether anorexia is a foreign concept to you or you have battled an eating disorder for most of your life, I beg you to read this book. Women everywhere (and, hey, why not men, too?) need to hear her story so we can begin to change the world, starting with how we treat ourselves.

<3’s

Gabriella

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July 20, 2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Art projects and agave nectar

Bonjour, tout le monde!

Now that school is essentially over (only 4 more days left!!!), I have much, much more time for blogging… Hooray! This memorial day weekend has been fun and relaxing, between sunny bike rides and shopping trips, plus just the beginning of a plethora of graduation parties to come!

Inspired by a Starbucks DIY tumbler I recently acquired, I began a mini-collage to decorate my new go-to mug, as my old one had been sadly broken! But, methinks it will make a worthy substitute for the old one… Check it out!

All of my idols in one spot- the "healthy heroines" that I look up to: Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Jillian Michaels, and of course CRYSTAL RENN!

Now put back into the tumbler, we have the finished product:

I think I shall call it my “Recovery Mug“!

And just for kicks, some goofy action shots 😉

Sippin' away!

Well enough of me being overly excited about my new thermos! How about some vegan yummies? Later  I made pizza… Though I found that I had no vegan tomato sauce left! Horror of horrors! Whatever is a girl to do???

Soooo, I got a little creative. I decided to pile my whole wheat crust high with broccoli & onions, sliced Kalamata olives, vegan “cheese”, and fresh cherry tomatoes. Then, I drizzled the whole thing with agave nectar!

A photo of the agave plant, native to South America

For those of you who don’t know what that is, agave nectar is essentially a plant-derived honey. It is a sweet, syrupy extract from the agave plant, with a lighter, less viscous texture than honey from honeybees. What’s the whole deal with it? Well, it is not an animal product, as some consider honey to be, and it has a lower glycemic index, meaning that it won’t cause such dramatic shifts in blood sugar, making it ideal for those with diabetes or problems regulating blood sugar. I actually just love the taste, which is lighter and delicately sweet… In fact, my little brother finished about 1/2 a bottle of the stuff in about a day he liked it so much!

Anywho, I put the pizza in the oven, not too sure of how it would come out with my new and somewhat random improvizations… But, turns out I like it even better than tomato sauce on my pizza! The agave gave a sweet but not overpowering undertone to the whole thing, contrasting nicely with the salty bite of the Kalamata olive and mixing nicely with the whole wheat crust and the vegan mozzarella. I would definitely use it again!

Pre-oven baking...

... And a close-up of the veggie goodness post-oven!

Well, that’s about it for now! I think later I’ll finally post pics from a sushi-making fest 😉

‘Till then!

<3’s

Gabriella

May 31, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Model Vegan???

Forgive me if it sounds like bragging, but I just had to gush about the compliment my latest nutritionist gave me! Meeting with her yesterday at the (bleck!) doctor’s office, she claimed she would use me as an example, because I was “one of her best vegan clients… A model vegan”!!!

I was souped to hear this from her, because not only did I get (and still get) a lot of crap from my friends, family, and even other medical professionals about going vegan, but I am also perfectionistic and wondering if I’m really following the best plan I can. Granted of course I’m not perfect, and everything is always a work in progress, but I am at least really, really glad to hear that a nutrition professional claims I am doing a really good job, especially with the daunting task of not only following a healthful vegan diet but following any healthful diet at all and eating regularly to fuel my body and maintain a steady, healthy metabolic balance within. It’s honestly really, really nice to get that encouragement… And also maybe because I can say “I told you so!” to all the nonbelievers! 😉

Cheesy as it may be, I want to thank those around me who have made it possible for me to get to this point in recovery (you know who you are!), and I also want to thank that little part in me that rebelled against the eating disorder and helped me move off a path of daily self-destruction. I may not have found peace with my body yet, but I can at least acknowledge that self-starvation will not get me to where I want to be (i.e. alive and happy in college vs. dead in a hospital cot). And for an added boost, I plan on reading this book by one of my all-time heroines, the beautiful Crystal Renn (You tell me in which shot she looks better, 5’9″ 98 pounds, or a normal, healthy size 12!):

Now, on to some vegan munchies (model or not, you decide, I guess! I’m not confident or vain enough to say they are!):

Organic corn chips, Boca crumbles, rice "cheese", topped with yummy Newman's own organic salsa

Yet another outlet for my salsa obsession: vegan taco salad! Organic corn chips, Boca crumbles, fresh lettuce, over a whole wheat tortilla

Brown rice topped with curried tofu, cauliflower, broccoli, and green peas

Italian vegan mania! Spinach gnocchi (a rich potato-based pasta and fear food!) in a broccoli broth

I may or may not have raved about these before: the protein-PACKED, delicious Field Roast vegan sausages

Now for some vegan snacks

My equivalent of Popeye's spinach: soy-free vegan protein for big MuScLeS!

Protein shake + sunflower seeds = ultimate post-workout snack!

Dessert challenges? They are made magically easier by dairy-free treats from Newman’s Own organics! Check out these scrumptious treats:

Great with some Yogi tea ❤

Thank you, Paul Newman! Dairy-free fig newtons!

Thanks for dropping in, guys! And, just as a last wise note from my beloved Yogi teas:

“We are physical beings having a spiritual experience.”

“The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment.”

<3’s

Gabriella

May 28, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

The Breakfast Challenge

Saturday morning I woke up, threw on some yoga pants and a t-shirt, and pedaled over to my boyfriend’s, who had the adorable idea of having a special vegan brunch 🙂

Only very recently have I found the courage to tell him about my ED, trying especially hard to keep the ED apart from my own personality, in my own efforts to weed the ED out of my identity (which it should not be a part of!). My therapist was the first to suggest this, and at first I greeted her idea with… lukewarm enthusiasm, to put it lightly. But I also know that I am very reserved when it comes to my personal life (especially where my ED is concerned), and that I am somewhat obsessively independent, and reaching out for help or support can be a good thing. In fact, it is the only thing that has helped me get so far in my recovery.

So, I told him. It suddenly seemed very organic and natural, and it just really seemed like it needed to be said. For better or for worse, this has been a huge part of my life (though, again, I am trying hard to stress that this does not mean it is a huge part of me!), and it needs to be put out there between us, or it will keep growing and morphing and festering and things will get worse instead of better. I was in a bad place one day, and he asked me what was wrong, and I just told him. I finally told the truth and just stopped lying or covering up my real problems. It was such a terrifying, liberating experience.

I was nervous even as I biked over. We had decided to make vegan pancakes, and my bag was full of fresh fruit and soymilk (haha). Luckily I had found an easy recipe for 5 Minute Vegan Pancakes, so it required minimal ingredients and effort 😉

I reflected as we put together ingredients and stirred the batter… “I have not had pancakes in probably three years, minimum,” I said out loud.

“Well, you’re having them now!” And it was true– I was! Isn’t it funny how sometimes after denying ourselves for so long, we begin to feel guilty about enjoying common pleasures? And it’s true– I actually thought to myself, “Isn’t this too good to be true? Can I really have pancakes and not gain 20 pounds in 5 minutes???” Even though I knew the nutritionals, even though I’ve seen more nutritionists and specialists and read more books and magazines on food and diet than anyone would care to know, I was still afraid. It’s really sad, actually, how this slow restriction becomes a form of self-punishment. I had to bring myself back to a time when I was 6 years old:

I stirred the batter, just like I did when I used to help my mother in the kitchen on Sunday mornings.

I licked the bowl, just like I did when I was 6 and didn’t know what a calorie was. And enjoyed it.

I smiled as the batter hit the pan and sizzled.

I laughed when I tried to flip my disobedient pancakes.

I ate. First the safe fruits, savored the tart grapefruit and the tangy kiwi and the sweet banana slices. Then one bite of a golden pancake. Then another. With a drizzle of maple syrup, no less.

He may or may not have urged me to take the first bite on purpose. He may or may not have told me to take the last bite on purpose. And he may or may not have been lying when he claimed he was full and left the last bits for me to finish. But it is OK. I’m still here. I didn’t gain 20 pounds. I ate pancakes for breakfast and didn’t explode or turn into a hippopotamus.

Perhaps the most challenging part of these victories is maintaining them. Even though I probably only took in 100 or so extra calories at breakfast, I couldn’t help but struggle with the urge to restrict later. Anyone come across that problem? It’s like, “Great, I did it!… Now let’s go back to square one.” It’s so hard not to skip lunch, skip snacks, not make up for things at dinner and so forth. It’s a challenge every day to convince myself that I am not a better person because of all the restricting I managed. I choose instead to focus on the victories and not the failures. I am bigger than my eating disorder. I am not a number on the scale, or a dress size. I am a person, for chrissakes! It’s time I start treating myself like one.

My body is a temple, not a slave

— A beloved, borrowed affirmation

<3’s

Gabriella

PS: As for the pancakes? Delicious! Non-vegan boyfriend even claims they are better than milk ‘n’ egg hotcakes 😉 In other words, go make them now!!!

April 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.